• Sportrock

Additional Gear for Long Climbs

Updated: Jan 20

gear for long climbs

If you climb long enough, you will eventually find yourself in a precarious position that you didn’t plan for. Many unfortunate events can occur on the mountains, all of which might keep you on a rock-climbing face for hours longer than you expected. You might get your ropes stuck. The weather could turn terrible, or your climbing partner might become injured. In case any of these happen during your climb, it’s vital that you pack additional gear that will help you survive a long night in the mountains.

Leaving the items mentioned below in base camp won’t do you any good if you have to make an emergency bivy in the mountains. Fight the temptation to pack extra light, and bring these items along:

Pack These, Please

Knife or Multi-Tool

There are many situations in which a small knife can be useful in a climbing scenario. Knives are most commonly used when climbers have to cut webbing/cords. But they can also be handy when improvising during first aid scenarios, or while making gear repairs. Every member of a climbing team should carry a small knife or multi-tool, and secure it to your body/harness using a carabiner or leash.

Extra Food and Water

If you’re carrying the minimum amount of food and water you need to make it through your day comfortably, you’re too optimistic. If your day is longer than expected, you’re going to be hungry and thirsty – which is going to make you move slower, and put you at risk of making avoidable mistakes. Even packing just one extra liter of water and a few protein bars will give you a safety buffer for when your adventure goes sideways.


LED headlamp

No mountaineer should ever be leaving home without their headlamp. Even if you’re heading out to the sport crag for a few hours, this light is an essential piece of equipment for when things go wrong. If you’re out alpine climbing, chances are you’re going to need a headlamp for an early morning start or a late night return; be sure that your batteries are brand new or that you’re carrying extra. There’s nothing worse than having to tie a rope in the dark.

Map or GPS

Depending on where you’re climbing, the importance of your navigation equipment will vary. However, if you’re climbing in a remotely located area or in an area that you’re unfamiliar with, navigation equipment is essential. People overestimate their ability to navigate, especially in the dark or when you’re fatigued; carrying a map or a GPS can be a simple solution to any navigation issues you might encounter.

Extra Clothes and Emergency Shelter

Seasoned alpinists often carry a small emergency bivy, just in case they have to spend a night in the mountains unexpectedly. Similarly, many climbers will bring an extra layer of clothes to keep them warm in an overnight bivy scenario. Single-use bivy sacks are incredibly lightweight and can be a lifesaver if you have to sleep in the mountains. If you pack smart, carrying extra clothes and an emergency shelter won’t add more than a pound to your pack, but these items can be crucial in an unexpected situation.